"Super Bacteria"

Hughes thhughes at indigo.ie
Fri Oct 25 11:49:14 EST 1996


Brian Hoyle (brianh at gov.nb.ca) wrote:

>: What are "super bacteria"? I have not heard this phrase. Could 
>: you post an explanantion of the phrase?

I'm not really sure but I think the term "super bacteria" refers to
antibiotic resistant bacteria which are emerging due to the overuse of
antibiotics in medecine and animal husbandry during the last few
decades.  
	With antibiotics in their environment bacteria acquire the genes which
encode resistance to the antibiotics (thus allowing them to survive).
These antibiotic resistance genes are usually carried on plasmids
(mobile pieces of DNA)  which can jump from one bacteria to another,
and are therefore easily transmissable.  
	If a pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria becomes resistant to the
antibiotics used to treat the infections it causes, this obviously
becomes a problem.  Some examples of these antibiotic resistant "super
bacteria" which have emerged include : MRSA (Multi Resistant Staph
aureus) and resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  These
bugs have become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat
the infections they cause and therefore the search is on for new, more
effective antibiotics.
	Hope this is of some help.  Anybody have any feedback on this topic?

	Gillian Gardiner, PhD student, Cork, Ireland.
	ggardiner at DPC.TEAGASC.IE




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